What have I been wearing this week?
Skirts, and some of my fave one it should be mentioned. The leather skirts are both second-hand. One I bought in Copenhagen and the other in a second-hand shop here. Good stuff, very versatile. I rub them with leather balm when they seem to need it. The first one is cognac colored, the second is black (as you can see in the not great photos). The third and fourth skirts are both made by me, almost ten years ago, in fabric that was a gift from Ecuador. They are a sort of wool-blend and very comfy in winter. Both of them are starting to show signs of decay, threads and piling but given how much I have used these over the years that is no surprise. They have served me well. All of these skirts have been worn with the simplest of sweaters this week, and honestly every other week too. I like cashmere sweaters. A lot. That black one is my ride or die sweater. Especially now that my cardigan has basically fallen to pieces again. Will patch it up during the weekend.
So I counted and I have 42 skirts all in all. The moratorium I issued the other day really wasn’t a bad idea. It should be noted that of my skirts nothing remains unused for long, and it is not clothes that anyone else would really like to use. If I break it down, these are the stats;
- 29 made of old clothes or material I’ve been given. Nine was made out of old garments, I count curtains and tablecloth as material pure and simple. A lot of stained fabric that I have taken the best bits of. I have been making clothes on and off since I was fourteen and been pretty much the same size.
- 6 bought second-hand
- 4 made in fabric I bought myself (i.e. new).
- 3 inherited (from my mum).
I think about five of my skirts are one the verge of falling apart. Maybe one or two needs a couple of stitches. I’m trying to be systematic about using them so that I can take pics but also to notice which ones could actually need a little TLC. Might also have found a solution to the problem with tights but I’ll get back to you on that one.
Have a great weekend!
Let me first of all announce that there is a “skirt making/buying moratorium” in this house. I love making skirts and I love wearing skirts, but in the end there is a limit to how many I need. My usual caveats is that several of my skirts are old, and on the verge of falling apart (which is true), but maybe let a few of them get retired before I make or buy new ones? And let us not forget that becoming a skirt is usually the second coming for all of my dresses when armpits and necklines are ruined so I won’t run out of materials any time soon.
That said, there are a few kind of skirts that I do long for; I only have one pleated skirt at the moment (my kilt)(which is not an actual kilt but you know what I mean) but it is the kind of thing I love and wear until it fall a part. A basic black skirt would also be an asset in my closet, and what I made this weekend is close enough even though its future is unclear.
Let me provide some background here: I have had the sewing machine out on the table all last week so I do a little every day and that adds up. This is also the kind of project that lends itself to be made in installments. The fabric is one pair of worn out black jeans and a pair of black trousers in some kind of synthetic that I bought in a panic last spring. In just a few weeks later they started to fall to pieces. The zipper broke and I accidentally caused more damage when I tried to open the zipper and get out of the trousers (it was a mess). Neither of those items could be much use on its own. The idea came from my denim skirt in blue made according to this simple patchwork principle, one that I use often. I love patchwork, I just do.
I did not apply myself 100% (the lines do not all align), but the sewing was to some degree hard and fast as I am worried that the fabric won’t hold up all that well. This still feels like a better idea as not much else can be done with it; I’m trying to prolong “the wearage”. From experience I know that using old fabrics or materials that are not the best quality for my clothes can make me feel like an idiot, if I spend hours and hours sewing according to protocol and then have it fall to pieces. That’s the thing with poor quality, it is unpredictable. With good cotton/wool/silk you can have an idea how it will behave. Synthetics or cheap blends? Not so much.
So this is what we have ended up with; a simple straight skirt in two shades of black, no fuss. Worn here with a white shirt and the tights from the ERDEMxHM collab. I used a pair of booties during the day, these heels are just for show (it is 2 inches of snow outside).
So to recap; ages ago I bought a dress at Zara during the summer sales. I felt fine in the dressing room, I made a snap decision and when I wore it out and about it felt uncomfortably short due to the design f the dress and my habit of taking long and brisk steps. I thus cut off the lowest part of it and replaced it with some fake leather I had at home and all was well; I had a useable dress, one that I really liked as the top part of it is wonderful, and it was both warm and comfortable. And then the fake leather started to crumble, and there was no stopping it.
Fake leather isn’t the best material to begin with and it wasn’t the highest quality either. So I rummaged around in my bag of materials and what did I find?
Some pretty colorful wool-cotton blend fabric with an ethnic touch. I have a skirt in this fabric that I have used loads so it’s a no brainer. I love this blue (also: is that brught blue haing a moment?). Yes; this ended up being fairly short but, it’s a straight down design so when I stride down the street I won’t be inadvertently showing everyone my underwear. (I will however keep showing everyone my resting bitchface until I learn how to take reasonable selfies or get an assistent).
Worn here with a pair of tights from Swedish Stockings and my fave platform shoes. I would really like to be able to give Swedish Stockings my whole-hearted approval as I think they are trying to do a good thing. However, I’ve bought five pairs of tights from them at this point and two of those (well, three actually) have not lasted long. I know how to wear and take care of tights, I’ve had Wolfords that I’ve used for so long that they are almost members of the family at this point. We’ll see how I solve this dilemma; I need tights to be able to fully use all my skirts and dresses.
So I’m doing the slow fashion challenge and the task for February is to clean out your closet. You can read more here (in Swedish).
In my case I did have a good sort in January already because I had the new hangers. Doing that, I had put a few things aside that needed fixing, and slowly but surely I have started to make my way through that pile. There is also the big bag of old fabric that I have been meaning to make thing out of. I’ve had the ideas, just not the time and energy. Well, it’s time was time to stop making excuses.
As someone who has a large portion of self made clothes in my closet and wear them proudly I often get fabric as presents or get offered old curtains and garments that are have been worn out or has been damaged. Such was the case with a pair of trousers bought by someone I know. They came from a fast fashion brand and after washing them (she says she did so according to instructions. Maybe not though?) they shrunk and become both too short and too tight to wear (and the elastic on the lining wasn’t fun either). well, these things happen and she asked if I wanted them. They were not wearable really and I could feel that the fabric was what I would call “brittle”. I have never studied design or sewing but I have encountered enough fabric to know bad quality when I feel it. This kind of fabric cannot endure much in the way of cutting and needles; it will start to disintegrate. So I decided to make the simplest skirt possible.
What must be mentioned here is that I really like the colours and the pattern; I won’t be using this right now (it’s too cold) but in summer I’m sure I will wear it loads; just a simple thing to pull on, works with every thing. In this photo I’m wearing it with a beloved silk blouse that is wearing thin in places but the main problem was that the colour of the buttons was falling off. So I changed the buttons; took less than 10 minutes.
So let’s get this post over with. I’ve been thinking about it so long, have had it on several “to-do”-lists and have tried to take so many pics it’s ridiculous. A combination of very bad lighting (i.e. the complete absence of daylight this last week) and some very awkward angles in addition has made it impossible to have good illustrations. There might be a follow-up post at some point with just good photos to support my arguments. Because I am here to talk about your style savior the granny brooch. Are you willing to accept this sparkly, completely fake and indispensable accessory in your life?
I know all the style mags will be all like ” have a pair of fancy earrings in your bag and it completely transforms your outfit in a second”. Yeah alright but if you a) have chunky glasses and a small face it will be over the top possible and b) those sparkly bits will snag on the big scarfs that are a prerequisite if you live in these parts. I’ve lost so many earrings during winter, I’m over it. No more for me, I’ve always like big brooches and I’ve gone all in now.
So this is what I propose; get thee a big old brooch, vintage shops are great for this kind of thing. One of my best is a gigantic pineapple that was bought at a flea market, although my current one is the chic and comparatively discrete bow-brooch from the ERDEMxHM-collection. It can be worn many ways, and will spark out many outfits. Wear one of these and that is all people remember and you can wear the same black dress to all holiday parties (with a wash or airing in-between).
Here is how to wear it.
- On the collar of your coat.
- On as a buckle on some grosgrain ribbon used as a belt.
- On the collar of your dress, almost like a bowtie.
- At the lowest point wearing a v-neck (preferably without anything underneath). I have a dress that is rather low-cut though, and then I use the brooch to make it a bit more modest, at least hypothetically. Having a big brooch in your cleavage might draw the eye actually, but as I have not tits whatsoever I get away with it.
- On the back of the dress if it is low-cut in the back. Unusual but very cool.
- On your clutch. I have a black velvet clutch that has been mistaken for fancy designer many times, as I’ve put big brooches on it, which look like a cool clasp.
- In your hair. Can be tricky but when making a ballerina bun, a brooch can be attached and this it from messy to made-up.
Sorry about the lack of pics, you’ll have to use your imagination. But my point is still that a brooch is a versatile accessory, more so then you might think. And as it is a singular piece, and not in “the way” (I’m talking about the impracticability of chunky bracelets) one can be a little playful.
Sorry about the lack of pictures, you will have to use your imagination. Trying to give you a few ideas at least.
- Actual hangers. When I moved away from home many years ago I started getting IKEA hangers, the sturdy wooden kind, and have added to them little by little. I have all matching hangers, and it makes me feel like I have my shit together. And they also keeps my clothes in good knick. Having good hangers makes dressing easier that way.( That my closet is overstuffed is another problem; the hangers are all that). Try IKEA or those velvet clad, sleek plastic ones; had I started organizing my clothes today that is what I would go for as they take up very little space.
- Cashmere socks. I’m obsessed with cashmere, I know. I also live in fear of cold feet, and I’m not the only one. Give someone you love the gift of warm feet this Christmas.
- Nice bathrobe. A rather classic gift, but useful. There are terry cloth robes for huge amounts of money, or rather cheap ones. Muji has a nice white one in that sort of waffle cloth, the high street has some really sexy ones in bold prints if you want to go down that lane. Think about the recipient and choose accordingly. I would also suggest looking at museums, I know the Museum of south-east Asian art here has some lovely kimonos.
- A nice brooch/pin. May be something that would have been a better in the “on the Vanity gift guide” but I’m throwing it in here (I forgot). They work for all sizes, come in many different styles and can be used endlessly. Don’t by the expensive little thing with gemstones, go for the slightly bigger thing with paste. Second hand shops/antique shops are good places to look.
- Cedar or lavender balls/bags/squares to keep away moth. If you can think about buying some from places like Santa Maria Novella or The White company but again Muji can be your friend here. Probably not a great gift all on its own but with some Cashmere socks? Taking care of your clothes is mentioned in all the Style books.
- A book about style. Speaking of which; a book about style is a good Christmas gift. There are at this point both big coffee table books with pages and pages of pictures of well-dressed people, and smaller books full of very practical advice. Both categories are nice to find underneath the tree. Do make sure to write a little greeting in the book, that personal touch matters.
- A shoe polish set. I’ve included this in gift guides before but it is the kind of thing for which there is a never-ending need. Buying shoe polish is very necessary but also the kind of thing that is too easy to forget. Same with sneaker cleaner.
I can’t really believe it either; I got up early yesterday and made it by an H&M before getting on with my day. And then at the end of the day I went back for another bout of shopping. My bank account probably thought is was “mad, bad and dangerous to know”. But I’ve earned that money and I rarely shop anyways. Yes, I have thoughts on H&M (and the efficacy of their sustainability work) but more importantly the effects of overconsumption in which I think there is an individual responsibility. However, the things I bought will most certainly be used and I have high hopes in terms of quality.
I rarely get excited about these designer collaborations, I watch from afar and have snagged a few pieces over the years. A few things have also been picked up second-hand, it’s not always hysterical prices on eBay and similar sites, the prices there are not always outrageous. I have also used a few of those pieces until they fell apart (as I’m wont to do). I did find a Stella MacCartneyxHM coat in perfect condition in a consignment store once, I regret not buying that as it was very nice, especially for 1000 kr (and how had kept it like that for what? 10 years?). I personally think that the long-term collectors value of these pieces is somewhat overrated, but I might be wrong. Short term though? the hype kicks in and people get a little crazy.
I had forgotten how poorly I handle situations where a sort of plebiscite mentality is the norm, and even encouraged. It started to come back to me when I was standing outside, and the queue wasn’t that long, so I could hear the staff start to clap their hands and count down very loudly to create excitement. A few people rushed in, but most of us very like “chill staff, we are trying to shop”. But there were a lot of shoppers and I had enough very quickly. Taking something to try on was out of the question. I bought a few things; scarf, socks and sparkly brooch, and then left.
However my eyes on the town sent a message that there was quite a few things left in store in the afternoon, and not much of a crowd, so off I went.
Ended up trying on several things (as witnessed by my changing room selfies). Ended up with one dress (not included) and the trousers. I will think of the coats fondly, because I love a nice coat, but the first was a bad fit on me all things considered (and I really would prefer a homemade leopard print kimonojacket) and the latter was just too big. I need a cool blogger life for that to be useful. Now I will spend all my time trying to find the blazer coordinating with the trousers. And wearing that brooch on everything (everything!).